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Inside Washington

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Nina 3, Pelosi 3, Cambridge 2, North Carolina 2, Henry Waxman 2, Barack Obama 2, Disabilities 2, Washington 2, Boston 2, Virginia 1, Harry Reid 1, Mccain 1, Peter Hart 1, Parenthesis 1, Towson 1, Busch 1, Maryland 1, Williamsburg 1, Cliff 1, Sotomayor 1,
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  ABC    Inside Washington    News/Business. Roundtable discussion features  
   nationally recognized journalists. (CC) (Stereo)  

    August 2, 2009
    9:00 - 9:30am EDT  

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it's the all new sesame street forest of fun... at busch gardens in williamsburg. with four family-friendly rides... and everyone's sesame street friends. ( elmo giggles ) ♪ big and small! there's fun for all! ♪ >> if you like your doctor, you keep your doctor. if you like your healthcare plan, you keep your health care plan. >> this week on "inside washington," the president's health-care dilemma. the more he talks, the more anxious americans appeared to be. >> they cannot get medicare and medicaid right, but they think they can get this right?
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>> i spoke to members of the gang of six, and progress is being made. >> there is not going to be a government-run insurance company set up. >> "newsweek" declares that the recession is over. is it? town and gown meet at the white house. >> two gentleman agreed to disagree on a particular issue. i do not think we spent a lot of time dwelling on the past, and we spent a lot of time focusing on the future. captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.org-- >> the most recent "wall street journal"-nbc news poll suggests that despite his best rhetorical efforts, support for president obama's case for health care reform is slipping, especially
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among those who have health insurance. and another poll reveals that his ability to frame the debate on his own terms is also waning. advertisements like this one do not help his case. >> good and up with government bureaucrats taking away your insurance, getting between you and your doctor. >> nobody is talking about some government takeover of health care. [applause] i am tired of hearing that. if you like your doctor, you keep your doctor. if you like your health careplae plan. these folks need to stop scaring everybody. >> in "the wall street journal" poll, only two out of 10 people believe that the quality of their plan will improve under obama's plan. how much trouble is the president in on this one, colby? >> not as much as other people think. at this time last week, i would have been surprised to learn that henry waxman, the chairman
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of the energy committee and a house, and a blue dog democrats could come together on a plan. the fact that is happening over there, and the fact that you have the republicans in the senate still at the table, suggests that this is coming together. what you are getting, slowly by slowly, are buy-ins from key elements in the congress. i think it will look a lot different, late fall, when we get the final product. >> charles? >> i think the wheels are coming off, and it is not after tyson's for republicans, not from the blue dogs, not from the insurance companies, it is from the congressional budget office, nonpartisan. it came out three times with findings that are just devastating. the sticker price of $1.60 trillion, then 10 days ago, when it said obama's new miracle cure, a committee of experts to make cuts in medicare, is not going to do a damn thing, and
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thirdly, when it said in a letter only last sunday that in the end, the out years, the deficit it will produce will be even larger. numbers like that you cannot have a plan survive. >> nina? >> we cannot actually survive without a major restructuring of health care. anybody was connected to the medical profession, and i am by marriage, it knows that it is headed for a cliff, and if we not do it now, it will be worse later. i think this august will determine whether we do something significant now, and august, when everybody goes home, and the advertisements are run, it can be definitive. i do not know which way it will go. >> mark, on the numbers, how does the president did himself out? >> the president is not in a whole, relief is always comparative could buy a two-one margin, people believe that the president is better on this and
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congress predate give him a very high marks on his commitment on the issue and understanding of the issue. there is resistance. three out of four people believe their health care costs will go up if nothing is done, and three out of all for believe they will go up if everybody is covered. but the principles that president obama has advanced, that first of all, no pre- existing condition can be excluded by an insurance company, that all employers will provide something, even the smallest employers, tax credits for those who cannot afford it, and able -- and it will be funded by an increased tax on the wealthy -- people back at 2- 1. as a political problem and it will take political skill and toughness to determine whether or not president obama prevails. >> if he does not nail it, he is in trouble, politically, isn't he? >> by the end of this year, he
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will come out with a bill that he can sign and that the country will like. look, ted kennedy wrote an op-ed piece in "times magazine" this week that outlined the real struggle to get health care reform, and the difficulties he has had over the last 30 years in trying to get something done. we are farther along now than we have ever been. if you had asked to be in january whether we would see congress coming together slowly, but coming together with something like this, i would have said no, not possible. >> the reason the so-called gang of six in the senate finance committee did not produce something is that the republican leadership intervened and said "don't do this, leave ito august to do what we can to." you can call it mischief making, constructive criticism, but that is what happened. >> it is no longer the gang of six. it is the gang of five or four. is that the republicans to stop
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this. the republicans have had a feeble effort. it is the cbo. the president says that we would give you a plan that expands coverage and cuts costs. a 90-year-old will tell you that that is a contradiction. the cbo showed that it is a contradiction in numbers, and that is what is killing it. >> the democrats in congress want to -- don't want to risk bringing down this president. if they do, it not only brings down his luster and mission and numbers, it also brings down in them. if they think they can go into 2010 with the failed health care and a president who is limping and wounded, they are kidding themselves. >> you want to focus group the other night. what did you learn about the way americans feel about the president? >> two hours of 12 independent voters in towson, maryland, led
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by peter hart. piece of conventional wisdom in washington was totally exploded, that the president is over exposed. people love the fact that the president is out there explaining, they like to see him and hear from him. they include mccain voters as well. but there is a sense of time out, that things are happening so fast. the republican argument, that we want to do this slowly, whether it is sincere or not, does resonate with people. the fact is that voters are still rooting for barack obama. his operating numbers are down, but they are rooting for him. >> obama's numbers are good and still strong, but in the last three months, approval of health care reform as decreased by 14%. it is a fact. the more people lear about it, the less they like it. >> it is less that and more that is been a steady pounding by the
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critics of this health care reform. that is that have some impact. -- down to to have so impact. >> obama is down, republicans are not bouncing back. you see some of the problem with the sotomayor vote coming this week, where she will be lucky to get 10 republican votes, because the republican leadership is whipping that vote so hard and that will hurt them in the long run.
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>> what is my solution? one, is going to be part of the government's solution. it should be our problem with that insurance, not the government taking over. >> a little back-and-forth in raleigh, north carolina, as the president travels south to sell this plan. democratic senate leader harry reid says that the gang of six
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on the finance committee is making progress -- the gang of five, according to charles. the ranking member of the finance committee says there will be no government-run insurance program. in the house, liberal democrats are steaming over a compromise that speak pelosi and henry waxman reportedly made wh the blue dog democrats. how does one get his arms around this plan? i am not sure what it is. >> without the blue dogs, the democrats are in the minority. >> tail wagging the dog. >> well, they do have a certain leverage in the democratic caucus. they picked up 11 seats that the republicans have held in 2006, and another six that the republicans have held in 2008. they are really fighting to hold on to the democratic majority, so you have got to listen to them. it still comes down to, i think, the democrats coming to the
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realization that nina touched on in the last segment that they will have to put the democrats together to pass this, and maybe get some republicans. i think that is where most of the work has to be done. >> nancy pelosi, speaker of the house, says the insurance companies, the lobbying they are doing is almost immoral, they have been immoral all along, they are the villains in this, they have done everything in their power to stop this from happening, have had a good thing going for a long time at the expense of the american people. according to "politico," this is somebody who got over $200,000 from the insurance companies. >> the insurance companies have an anti-trust exemption. you cannot talk to a doctor or small business insurer who is not presented with the rates they are going to pay. whether it is the doctor in liability or the small business insurer who wants to buy for the employees.
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the insurance companies have, unless there is a very aggresve regulator, they have -- i was about to use an expression one should not use on television. >> let's try to stay on the air. >> but i will make a prediction, that there will be a health bill, a larger one that aims at structure and everything, or zero more minimal health bill. but in the end, there will be a lot of changes in the way that medical care is in short in this country. >> charles says it is health insurance reform, in your column. >> nobody understands what obamas says when he talks about reform. it has 18 elements of structural reform and a lot of them will not happen. mark is right -- democrats understand that if the president is defeated on this, he is done.
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they will not slay their own severe in the first year. -- slay their own savior in the first year. there will be a health bill, but it will be a minimal one. the president used five times in his press conference an interesting turn of phrase, health insurance reform. a new formulation. i think it will be heavy regulation of insurance companies, so that if you have -- people who have that now and like it will be secure, portable, and permanent. people who accept that -- >> but you have to have a market. >> the left will be angry, but the president will hold his left anyway. >> the democrats will not pass a health care bill because they want to help barack obama. they will do it because there is pressure to get a health care bill passed. there will be terrible blow back if they fail to do something. i think you will see in somewhat more of the uninsured covered,
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not the 45,000,002 are uninsured now, but more of them covered. we will see regulation, in double but more competition in the system -- regulation that will put more competition into the system. whether it is the public payer or another, the coop measure, some kind of competition will be introduced into the picture. people will be covered for pre- existing conditions. those things will be part of the new system. >> 1.1 nancy pelosi excepting $200,000 from the company's b. if you cannot take the money and drink their brews and sleep with the lobbyists and vote against them, you ought not to be in the business. nancy pelosi meets that test. [laughter] >> republican congressman virginia foxx of north carolina said on the house floor that the republican plan would not put
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seniors in a positioof being put to death by the government as somebody in that age group, i support that. [laughter] >> the misinformation about what is in this bill is astonishing. some of it i ever, some of it -- a great deal of it by deliberation, is really astonishing. >> if you go to a single-payer, as the british have, you'll find as they have that over a certain age you not a kidney or liver and you will die. rationing occurs with that kind of the system. >> rationing occurs now. >> that is why we need the matchmaker in new jersey who can get a kidney for you. [laughter] >> so in lightning. is the great reces p
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>> i don't know whether you have seen the latest cover of "
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newsweek" magazine at the grocery store, but the cover says that the recession is over. [laughter] now, i imagine that you might have found the news a little startling. [laughter] i know i did. here is what is true -- we have stopped the free fall. we may be seeing the beginning of the end of the recession. but that is little comfort if you are one of the folks who has lost their jobs. >> a word of caution from the president on celebrating the end of the recession. actually, the article points out that one economist tells the recession is over, it is a technicality. we are not home yet, charles. >> but the news is good. on friday, we got a report that whereas in the first quarter, gross national product had decreased by over 6%, in the second quarter, it only went down by 1%, which implies that
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we are hitting the bottom, and bernanke has predicted, and he is probably correct, that by the end of the year, we will have growth, a percent, a percent- and-a-half. it is anemic, but it beats detraction. the problem is that joblessness is a lagging indicator, and we will have high unemployment log in to our recovery, probably to election year 2010. >> how much credit as the administration get? >> i give a lot of credit to the obama administration -- >> surprise. >> and the bush administration. >> i am shocked. >> both administrations did on popular, costly, awful things, and we will see the nasty repercussions of that, such as the bonuses we gave -- there was a story about 5000 of the people in the big financial
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institutions got bonuses of over $1 million or something like that. >> they earned every penny. >> it is enough to make you -- but we -- there is a very good chance that we would be in a deep depression if they had not done this. >> because we are seeing from the shrinkage of the economy that inventories down in businesses, and they will have to start acquiring and at manufacturing pick up over the next six months. charles is right that we will have a lag in employment, and you'll see structural change in employment, like the auto industry. >> we passed reform and real regulation of the financial institutions. >> once again, walstreet is ahead of the curve. >> here we go. >> nine of the firms got $175 billion in tarp funds. more than $1 million, as nina
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pointed out, to the 5000 as they are taking from the public treasury, people who are suffering and trying to get through. these are people -- we are talking about millions and millions of american families that are really in pain, and it is fine that the numbers are going up and the overall percentage and everything else, but in the final analysis, there is a human face on this unemployment, and that is real and is going to be an enormous political problem in 2010. >> how does he get around that, the president? >> they better genuinely hope that by the early summer of 2010, unemployment is going down and people are goinback to work, and that there is hiring going on. >> we will probably see it that stimulus package, which people discredit, work its way further into the economy and pick up in various areas. >> if mark had been at the french revolution, he would have been the guilllotine operator.
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>> i would like not on to discuss, with professor gates' perspective, and he has the ability to enlighten me a little bit. >> the cambridge police of a serb who busted the distinguished harvard professor ase tried to get into -- officer who busted the distinguished harvard professor as he tried to get into his own home. charles, he spent some time at harvard. how much of this is town vs. gown? >> a lot of it is. has the classic elements -- white working-class, professor at an elite university. but look, is the president who infused racism into this, a situation where i do not think existed. he is the one at fault. i think the best comment out of all this is henry gates, who at the end said that officer
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crowley, when he is not arresting you, is a really nice guy. >> the president in fused racism into this? >> a soft answer turns away wrath, so i will answer softly. the bonding over beer that occurred was probably a good thing. i do think, though, that it was a teachable moment that obama, the constitutional lawyer, allowed to pass. there was an opportunity to talk about the first amendment, police powers, the rights of citizens. i don't think that was necessarily attend to it, but there is a time to do it, and is now. >> i like the comment of the woman who actually reported what might be a break in. that is all she said. she was completely exonerated by the 911 tapes. she never mentioned race.
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her lawyer said, "three guys acted badly in this, and they are having a beer at the white house. the one person who did not act badly, who did her duty, is doing her job in cambridge today." >> joe biden, i am glad he had a non-alcoholic beer. brought sobriety intemperance to the event. secondly, it turned out that one thing they bonded over, the professor and the officer, were the boston red sox and the boston celtics. professional baseball team and basketball. they thought they had that in common. it proves the importance of sports. >> last word. thanks. see you next week.
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